Introducing a new style: the Russian Imperial Sour

As I am a big fan of sours, I decided to experiment with my last litre of Black Death to see if I could sour it and see how it turns out. Black Death is very thick, roasty brew with a sweet finish, and is at 15% abv. I felt there was more than enough food left in the beer for brett and lacto to do their thing. So I pitched 200ml of the dredges of the best Lambic I brewed into the barrel with Black Death and left it for two months.

The results were surprising: The beer soured fully, which surprised me due to the high ABV of Black Death and only being a two month time frame. The first thing you get is the characteristic smell of a Lambic – funky, acidy, vinegar that just hits you so distinctively. The coffee and roast aromas that are normally associated with an RIS are gone. Initially, the beer tastes like a standard RIS, roasty coffee with some bitterness and astringency from the grain. Then the alcohol kicks in, but the finish is completely different the a tarty funkyness comes through very much like an Oloroso sherry, which is one of my favorite drinks after beer, with some raisins and forest fruit notes. There is a little sweetness left in the beer which helps meld these two contrasting flavors together. I am very pleased with the results, a lot of people that have tried it have agreed with me. Definitely not a beer for drinking more than a 100ml of, but makes for a great after dinner flavour experience.

Bigger problem is I only have 300ml left, so it’s super exclusive!!

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